In a groundbreaking feat, AST SpaceMobile, a cellular satellite firm supported by AT&T, has achieved the "first ever" 5G connection between an unmodified smartphone and a satellite in space. The company, which conducted the historical test using a Galaxy S22 on September 8th, 2023, managed to establish a successful call from a wireless dead zone in Maui, Hawaii to Madrid, Spain. This monumental accomplishment was made possible by utilizing the low Earth orbit test satellite, BlueWalker 3 (BW3), and AT&T’s 5G spectrum, a feat validated by Vodafone, Nokia, and AT&T.
This latest milestone is a culmination of a series of tests that have been pushing the boundaries of space-based telecommunications. Earlier in April, SpaceMobile made its first space-based phone call using AT&T’s 2G network, and later sent a 4G LTE signal from space that a regular phone managed to pick up. The company has also broken its own download speed record, hitting around 14Mbps in a separate test. AST SpaceMobile’s relentless pursuit of technological advancement signifies a paradigm shift in information access, and it’s not stopping there. The firm is gearing up to launch five commercial BlueBird satellites in the first quarter of next year, further pushing the limits of space-based phone calls with 5G speeds.
AST SpaceMobile Makes History with First 5G Satellite Call
AST SpaceMobile, a satellite company backed by telecom giant AT&T, has recently achieved a technological milestone by conducting the first-ever 5G satellite call. This ground-breaking event marks the first successful connection between an unmodified smartphone and a satellite in space using 5G.
The Test and Its Implications
On September 8th, 2023, from a wireless dead zone in Maui, Hawaii, AST SpaceMobile used a Samsung Galaxy S22 to make a call to Madrid, Spain. The call was facilitated by the company’s low Earth orbit test satellite, BlueWalker 3 (BW3), and AT&T’s 5G spectrum. Vodafone, Nokia, and AT&T all validated the call, confirming its successful execution. This technology could revolutionize the way we communicate, especially in remote areas with little to no cellular reception.
Progress Towards a New Era of Communication
This isn’t AST SpaceMobile’s first stride towards advancing space-based communication. Earlier in April, the company routed its first space-based phone call over AT&T’s 2G network. Following this, they sent a 4G LTE signal from space, which was picked up by a regular smartphone. They also achieved a download speed of 10Mbps. In a subsequent test, AST SpaceMobile broke its own record by attaining a download speed of roughly 14Mbps.
A Paradigm Shift in Information Access
AST SpaceMobile’s CEO, Abel Avellan, expressed his excitement about the achievement. "Once again, we have achieved a significant technological advancement that represents a paradigm shift in access to information," he said. "Since the launch of BW3, we have achieved full compatibility with phones made by all major manufacturers and support for 2G, 4G LTE, and now 5G."
The Future of Space-Based Phone Calls
While Apple and T-Mobile are exploring satellite connectivity with the iPhone 14 and SpaceX’s Starlink respectively, AST SpaceMobile is pushing the boundaries by utilizing 5G speeds for space-based calls. The company has plans to launch five commercial BlueBird satellites in the first quarter of the coming year.
In conclusion, AST SpaceMobile’s achievement signifies a considerable leap in the field of communication technology. The successful 5G satellite call is a testament to the company’s relentless pursuit of innovation and the potential of space-based communication. It’s an exciting time for both the telecommunications and space industries, with these advancements promising a future where connectivity is truly universal.